A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor is implanted into a person with kidney failure. This procedure is typically performed to replace kidneys that are no longer functioning properly due to conditions such as chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, or kidney failure resulting from other causes.
Here’s an overview of the key aspects of a kidney transplant:
- Donor Selection: Kidneys for transplantation can come from living donors (usually family members or close friends) or deceased donors. Living donors can lead normal lives with one healthy kidney, and their compatibility with the recipient is a critical factor.
- Recipient Evaluation: The recipient undergoes a thorough medical evaluation to ensure they are a suitable candidate for a kidney transplant. This evaluation assesses their overall health and identifies any potential issues that could affect the transplant’s success.
- Matching: If the kidney comes from a deceased donor, it needs to be matched as closely as possible to the recipient’s tissue type to reduce the risk of rejection. For living donors, the tissue match is usually better.
- Transplant Surgery: The transplant surgery typically involves the removal of the failed kidney (unless both kidneys are left in place) and the insertion of the new kidney. The new kidney is usually placed in the lower abdomen.
- Immunosuppressive Medications: After the transplant, recipients need to take medications that suppress their immune system to prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney. These medications need to be taken for the rest of the recipient’s life.